Trent Alexander-Arnold has been singled out for some absolutely massive praise from former Liverpool U23s coach Michael Beale.
18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold has seemingly impressed everyone with his rapid rise from promising teen prospect to providing Nathaniel Clyne – arguably England’s second choice right-back – with serious competition for his place in the Red’s starting XI.
Former Liverpool U23s coach Michael Beale believes the praise coming the youngster’s way is more than justified as he was always “head and shoulders” above the rest.
“He started as a young winger, that was his thing, and when I first came to Liverpool he was playing as a central defender,” he explained.
“I remember having a bet with a member of staff at Liverpool at the time to say that he would play in the first team. He was just head and shoulders above everybody else, and that was as a central defender. Then he broke into the U16s when I was coach, playing as a full-back, but in his own age group, he would play as a midfielder.
“When I moved up Pepijn came in and continued the base as a midfielder, and then he’s obviously gone up to the first team as a right-back.
“I think at the moment we’re just happy that he’s playing, but you can see as a right-back that he has the ability to play on the wing, or the ability as a midfielder. He has fantastic technical ability, and hopefully, this is a sign of the modern English player: that they are flexible, but also exciting with it.”
‘TAA’ opted to shun international duty with England’s U19s this summer in order to focus on building a solid base in pre-season with Liverpool at Melwood but Beale believes he will have a prominent role to play for his country in years to come.
“He’s exactly what we need, and I’m speaking specifically as a Liverpool fan, I’m talking about the whole country,” he enthused.
“We need homegrown players from their local city to come through that are focused and have good mentors around them. He surprised me even, because he’s so slight but he’s grown. You always knew he would grow, he’s got long arms and legs and he’s very bony, but he’s growing. He’s growing as a person as well.
“I think the first-team staff deserve a huge credit, because what Jürgen did when he first came in was take five or six players and take them to Melwood. He let them stay there for a number of weeks, to be around the senior players and learn off them.
“It’s like an old reserve-team situation: they were there every day, learning from them. He shows a real interest in them, and I think that’s key.”
Alexander-Arnold signed a new five-year deal at Liverpool earlier in the month, cementing his future at the club until 2022.